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Creativity Photography

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky

German photographer Andreas Gursky’s photograph “99 Cent II Diptych” (see above) was once the world’s most expensive photo.

In it, the Dusseldorf School photographer stitched together a two-part photograph (also called a ‘diptych’) of a vast but empty grocery store in Los Angeles.

Taking another contemporary digitally manipulated view of everyday objects, Gursky’s “Rhein II” sold for $4.3m at Christie’s New York in 2011 — the image became world’s most expensive photo to sell at an auction.

“I wasn’t interested in an unusual, possibly picturesque view of the Rhine… This view cannot be obtained in situ; a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river,” recounts Andreas Gursky on the work.

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Rhein II’ (1999, remastered 2014) © Andreas Gursky

However, I still dig the artifice projected in his 2017 high-speed train ride in Tokyo, where he merged multiple photos to give the picture a blurring, hyperreal effect.

Gursky’s “Bahrain I” which reconstructs myriad images of the Bahrain International Circuit racetrack is also one to marvel at — especially for the way its paint-like race-tracks enhance reality.

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Tokyo’ © Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Bahrain I’ 2005 © Andreas Gursky

Regardless of his skill, Gursky tells his students that it’s only because of hours of practice and work that beget his radical intuition.

“People keep trying to find a matrix for the perfect image, but it’s intuition, it’s not something that can be taught.”

Andreas Gursky (via FT)

You can learn more about Gursky’s 2018 exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery in the video below or right here.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Thoughts are seeds

Examining the world, collecting artifacts, awaiting that sudden flash. 

To believe that epiphanies are a result of short-term thinking is a canard. Good ideas emerge from gathering string over long stretches of time. 

Do you think Isaac Newton discovered insight into gravity only after the apple dropped on his head? No, he’d been chewing on the concept during one of his numerous contemplative moods.  

Seeds of thought blossom into ideas

Whatever it is–a mental note, a scrawl on a napkin, a Pinterest pin, or bunches of index cards–the most important thing is to get your observations recorded. Hence, you can remember what’s interesting now and more easily recall it again, later. Memory favors double-recall.

Having an aggregation system where thoughts compound and grow as seeds to flowers is vital to the thinking process

Like a series of connected synapses storing up bytes of memory, building on top of ideas spurs on a curiosity that lends itself to an aliveness unheard of in the day to day numbness.

Persistent novelty keeps us awake. The fruit of creativity — curiosity — creates a beautiful cycle of discovery. 

Seeds merely planted but watered with attention, keep the brain tickled well enough.

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Arts Creativity Writing

Creativity lies within

The quest of creativity is really the search for aliveness.

It is no wonder that when we spend the time to make and ship our craft, we are happier human beings.

To see and have any product resonate is icing on the cake. Few artists ever achieve wide acclaim for their work, even fewer prosper.

There’s no guarantee that the so-called “professional” writer or photographer achieves monetary success. Money is no arbiter, as Van Gogh can attest — he only sold one painting while he was alive and it was to his brother.

When we begin with the intention to please or entertain others, it’s no wonder the muse gives up on us. She demands honest work.

Creativity can be selfish act. We make what we want to see in the world, even if we don’t believe in the project at hand. It is within the practicing of creating, the maker basks in raw aliveness.

Originality is the pusher.

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Creativity Poetry Writing

The road to becoming a mentality monster

She never imagined what her artwork could do to her. Her output fostered confidence in the images of the psyche.

She brushed with aplomb, thinking without thinking — neither about the potential eyeballs nor sales numbers. What artist needs market research?

Honest, disciplined, and in good taste. The creator never grew disillusioned when she got knocked back.

Persistence is a duty, a right to the path. Passion is the great instigator; the emotional jolt every fashion designer needs to avoid the grind.

She dared to do. Doing is why there’s knowing.

She became a zoo of complex, organic molecules optimized toward effort. The world welcomed its newest mentality monster.

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Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Uncategorized Writing

It’s the indecision that’s risky

In the absence of ideas, we’re lost floating at sea.

Weighed down in idea debt, a lack of action can have the same debilitating effect.

Inertia is the purported enemy. Just write the truest sentence already.

What works better is facing fear and proceeding right into it.

We keep our eyes on the prize and spend our time wisely, for the latter is never under your control. We remain undecided and fritter the seasons away at our own risk.

Born in the morning, jolted in the afternoon, and reset in the evening.

Intensely alive with a deliberate pulse — faith knows that even the wrong ideas fail successfully.

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Arts Creativity

The Olivetti Valentine typewriter

An icon of 1960s pop-art design, the Olivetti Valentine typewriter was designed by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass and British designer Perry Ellis for the Italian company, Olivetti.

Sottsass covered the typewriter in red “so as not to remind anyone of monotonous working hours.” Its iconic red color was a precursor to the iMac, a machine that also differentiated itself from other computer products by offering a panoply of vibrant colors.

The late great music icon David Bowie was known to have one of the Olivetti Valentine typewriters in his own private collection.

The typewriter debuted on 14 February 1969, hence the name ‘Valentine’ and also existed in a neutral gray color as seen below.

The Olivetti Valentine typewriter
Photo: Twitter/dean_frey
The Olivetti Valentine typewriter
via twitter
Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Write to be misunderstood?

The write to be understood trope is itself, misunderstood.

Don’t be too specific. Keep it vague enough to goad a broader curiosity.

The details ruin everything, especially if they’re explained by a loudmouth. Revelations squash the guts of great imagination.

The best approach therefore is one that’s provocative yet tactful. Stay determined to keep the reader entertained while also giving them something to chew on.

Keep the reader guessing.

The writer is still trying to figure it out themselves.

Categories
Arts Creativity Quotes

Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs adopted da Vinci’s maxim in designing Apple computers.

Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It unclutters the multiplicity of crayons and fence-sitting gray space in the middle and replaces objects with mere black and white.

Simplicity comes from revision

Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

The simplicity of design directly relates to the clarity of design — retained and kept implicit is the main thing which gets featured in the work.

'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication'

Only when we remove the excess can we appreciate the beauty of simplicity. What results only appears natural because all the explaining was wiped our during reduction.

The experts know what to ignore.

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Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The trick to staying motivated

Money and fame often serve as motivation. So too does doing good for the world. You’d think it’s impossible to be motivated every day.

But you don’t have to be 100% motivated to get stuff done. It only takes a little motivation to get started.

Fortune favors the motivated

Motivation is not a prerequisite to doing the work.

People often work even when they don’t feel like it. Whether they’re following a passion project or exercising pure grit, fortune favors the consistent.

For some like artists and athletes, the daily grind is a profession. It is through starting, action, that is both the cause and effect of motivation.

Motivation is a psychological muscle. If everyone was purely ruled by mood, they’d probably reach for a candy bar or a red bull. The right type of motivation takes looking inside yourself — intrinsic motivation — for the push forward.

Self-help blogs, books, and streams are wonderful but they only provide temporary motivation. Motivation is fickle.

The trick to getting better at any craft is through persistent practice.

Never let being extraordinary prevent you from starting. Even more, spending time thinking about how well things may go can also become also a demotivating force.

If all else fails to inspire, ask yourself whether you were really interested in the first place.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

“Creativity is like breathing”

A friend once told me that creativity is like breathing. When you make stuff, you’re exhaling. But you can’t exhale forever. Eventually, you have to breathe in. Or you’ll be dead.

Matthew Inman, Cartoonist

The more you make, the more you have to play with. But the creativity flame burns out too.

Don’t be afraid to step away every once in a while to go on vacation or read a book, whatever gets you out of your own head.

It’s ok to break up the consistency.

PS. Never worry about breaking the chain — if you learn to rest, creativity always comes back.

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal